(Maternity) Clothes-Minded

If you knew The Maven back in her ShopGirl days, you'd know she's a crazy bargain-hunter (and if you didn't, all you need to know is that Kristen wrote a shopping column for years). So this whole maternity clothes thing has really thrown all of us for a loop.

First, we had no idea how much stuff we'd need — three seasons of oversize fun! Second, we had no idea how much money we'd need. And these things never truly go on sale. Fortunately, a dear friend sent us a giant box of her gorgeous maternity clothes, but we still need a few warm-weather staples to get us through June.

The other day, The Maven was trolling the Web for shorts (because who doesn't want to see a beached whale with pasty-white legs?) and figured, why not try the Gap? Well, here's why: cotton khaki shorts for $54.50. Seriously? For shorts? That don't even make you look skinny? Ugh.

Yes, there are other options — in Bangor, we have Motherhood, Old Navy and the maternity section at Burlington Coat Factory, which offers a surprisingly stylish (and inexpensive) array of clothes. There are not one, but two locations of The Growing Place, a consignment shop for all things mama- and baby-related. Unfortunately, neither location seems to ever have anything Maven-size. And since we only have 7 1/2 weeks to go, we're not about to break the bank on warm-weather clothes. So we were pretty psyched about the opportunity to check out Maternity Fair in Biddeford last weekend.

This shop shares a storefront with sister store Baby Furniture Fair, which carries wonderful, clean, gently used cribs, gear and toys. But really, let's talk clothes. And let us just throw this out there: Most places that claim to sell "quality used maternity clothing" are selling pilly sweaters, pants that have taken too many turns in the washing machine and dresses from the late '90s. Not so at Maternity Fair. Yes, there were a few things we wouldn't be caught dead in, but it was so nice to see stacks and racks of brand-name clothing that looked new (in fact, some of it still had the store tags).

When you walk through the door, the store's owner, Janet, immediately introduces herself and makes it a point to make your visit great. She was incredibly helpful as The Maven amassed a pile of great clothes, offering advice about fit and — of course — asking about the baby (and what mom-to-be doesn't love to talk about the baby?). We walked out of there with two pairs of capris from the Gap (both of which looked brand-new), a babydoll top from Motherhood that was, in fact, brand-new, the prettiest shirt ever from Old Navy, and third pair of capris from Motherhood. We debated a pair of khaki Bermudas from Gap, but they weren't exactly flattering.

The entire bill came to $60 — shockingly low, especially when you compare that to $54.50 for one pair of shorts online. Not bad at all. So for all you Maine mamas-to-be — and for all you crazy bargain-hunters — Maternity Fair is a must.

Maternity Fair is located at 288 Main St. in Biddeford. For more information, visit the website.


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